Qatar Central Bank Issues Digital Payment Licenses to Ooredoo, iPay by Vodafone

Qatar Central Bank (QCB) has reportedly issued the nation’s first virtual payment licenses to Ooredoo Money and iPay by Vodafone Qatar.

The announcement was made via social media on August 30, 2022. The update noted that the issuance was made to contribute to the development of the Fintech industry and to promote greater financial inclusion.

Qatar has reportedly been working towards becoming an international fintech technology hub since the establishment of the Qatar Fintech Taskforce in 2017. This taskforce includes the QCB, Qatar Development Bank (QDB), Qatar Financial Center (QFC), and various other financial services providers in the MENA region country.

The QCB is focused on a new financial tech strategy that it intends to introduce in the coming months.

Qatar reserve bank governor H E Sheikh Bandar bin Mohammed bin Saoud Al Thani has said that the overall strategy will consists of the launch of an integrated, centralized real-time payments network that should allow banking institutions to handle contactless transactions from virtual wallets.

As noted in the announcement, the head of the QCB’s Fintech sector Alanood Abdullah Al Muftah revealed that the latest Fintech strategy may place more emphasis on virtual currencies.

He stated:

“Each central bank should study digital banks, considering their growing significance in the global market. We also see the direction of the market moving towards having a digital currency. However, it’s still being studied whether we’re having a digital currency or not.”

In other recent news from Qatar, it was reported that the Communications Regulatory Authority (CRA) launched a public consultation about the “National Blockchain Blueprint for Qatar,” which was collaboratively “developed by CRA, Hamad Bin Khalifa University, and Qatar University, with the aim of receiving the views and comments of stakeholders and concerned parties in Qatar on the content of the drafted document.”

The blueprint “establishes the frame for blockchain at the national level and identifies its key elements; regulatory foundation, adoption foundation, and innovation and creativity.”

The blueprint “identifies key blockchain requirements, and provides a set of recommendations towards achieving the desired objectives; identifying and building an efficient regulatory foundation for blockchain, creating a solid foundation for the government’s approach in this field, and creating and enabling a supportive environment for creativity and innovation.”

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